Monday, July 18, 2016

How Will The Celtics Do This Season?

"Al Horford Atlanta Hawks Win Over Pacers" by Hawks Hoop CC by 2.0
  The Celtics were one of the most surprising teams in the league last year finishing 5th in the east, in a four way tie for the 3rd seed, after being the 7 seed last year. Even though the Celtics had a great year, they still got eliminated in the first round just like last year, and the reason for their loss was because of the limited bigs they had. The Hawks had one of the best big men duo in Paul Millsap and Al Horford, and the Celtics just couldn't control them. But the Celtics fixed that this off season by signing Atlanta's Al Horford to the team. So how will the Celtics do this season?

  Well as mentioned before the Celtics fixed one of their biggest problems by signing Al Horford, they also drafted forward Jaylen Brown who seems like a bright talent and definitely helps their front court and bench, but took a big losses to their lineup by losing Evan Turner who was a key player for them on both ends of the floor and Jared Sullinger who was a starter for them. But overall the Celtics improved a lot during Free Agency. 

  The Celtics last year finished 48-34 in a four way tie for 3rd in the East. If we are considering the moves the other teams in the East have made, we can see the Celtics ending up in the Top 4 next season.  The Cavs expected to finish at number 1 next season, then this year it will be a fight for the 2nd spot between the Raptors who were the 2 seed last season, the Pacers, and the Celtics. The Celtics finally have that other star on their team along side Thomas which could definitely excel them in the Playoffs. Lets compare the Celtics starting lineup to the Pacers who seem like a team that will definitely be fighting with Celtics for the top spots in the East.
Pacers vs Celtics:
Thomas vs Teague: Thomas wins this matchup mostly because he averages better numbers, is more consistent, and comes up very clutch for his team.

Bradley vs Ellis
This is a very close matchup, since Ellis had an off year last season. Bradley 1 averaged more point, Ellis averaged 2 more assists, and they both averaged the same amount of rebounds. This is an equal matchup but we'll give this one to Ellis for averaging more assists since it led to more points.

Crowder vs George
George no question is the better player, an All-Star and Complete Super Star in this league. Being one of the best in the league is hard to beat and George averages much better numbers than Crowder.

Johnson vs Young
The Pacers picked up Thaddeus Young this off season which was an upgrade to their lineup, and comparing stats Young averaged better numbers than Johnson. But Johnson is bigger in height and weight which could cause a problem.

Horford vs Jefferson
Horford is clearly the better player. An All Star and a big pick up for the Celtics. Horford averaged better numbers all around then Jefferson who was playing a bench role in Charlotte before signing with Indiana.

So from the looks of it, the Lineups look very close, and could come down to who plays better at the shooting guard position. This will be a very interesting matchup during the season to find out who finishes with a better record.

 With the editions that the Celtics have added, they're not seeming like First Round exits, they look more like Eastern Conference Finals contenders and will cause some trouble to the Cavs and the rest of the East. But the Celtics still need one more piece to make them Championship Contenders, it is that one Super Star player that can do it all. That would've been Kevin Durant if they had signed him, or Jimmy Butler or DeMarcus Cousins through trade. The Celtics just need that super star push to make them contenders, and they have enough on their team to get it

Sunday, July 17, 2016

What Should The Thunder Do Next?

By Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA - Russell Westbrook, CC BY-SA 2.0,

  The Oklahoma City Thunder took a big loss this off season by losing Super Star Small Forward Kevin Durant who signed with the Golden State Warriors. Not only losing one of their Super Stars, the Thunder's future seems unclear at this point seeing that Russell Westbrook's contract also expires next year, and rumors saying that Westbrook most likely won't resign. So what should OKC do?

  Well if the rumors are true that Westbrook most likely won't resign with the Thunder, then the Thunder must trade Westbrook to get value and not be left empty if he leaves. Teams that would be interested in Westbrook would most likely be win now Championship caliber teams, that by adding Westbrook would make them even more dominant.

 Teams like these would be the San Antonio Spurs which would make the team much better and quicker. Westbrook would also give the Spurs the defense they need to guard the Elite point guards of the West, even though they already have Defensive Player Of The Year Kawhi Leonard, a Spurs team with Westbrook would definitely make them contend against the Warriors. Now to get Westbrook the Thunder most likely will ask for a lot in return and if the Spurs don't want to give any valuable assets like: Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, or Pau Gasol, then getting Westbrook will be very difficult. Various players like Danny Green, Patty Mills, possibly even Tony Parker, and other bench players would have to be traded along with numerous draft picks, which wouldn't be that good of picks considering the Spurs amount of success. The Spurs would be giving up a lot to acquire Westbrook which doesn't really seem worth it considering he is on a One Year Deal.

  Another suitor for Westbrook would be the Boston Celtics. The Celtics may already have All-Star Point Guard Isaiah Thomas, but even if Thomas isn't included in a deal, Westbrook could possibly fit right in the Shooting Guard position, considering his size and explosiveness, he would have no problem playing the 2. The Celtics have lots of picks, some very valuable, and also have lots of valuable role players. The Celtics have a very valuable pick in the Nets 2017 First Round pick which could very well turn into another Top 3 Pick, which would definitely interest the Thunder. Along with the various picks the Celtics would probably give up, they have valuable role players as mentioned before. The Celtics could trade Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart, Amir Johnson, and or Jonas Jerebko in a deal. Including at least three of the players mentioned along with Nets pick and other picks the Celtics have, this could definitely catch the Thunder's interest in trading Westbrook to the Celtics.

  The third and final option would be the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have lots of young talent which is what Thunder would want if they are planning on rebuilding. The Lakers have high draft picks if they play like last year which would cause interest to the Thunder. Also their young talent like D'Angelo Russell, Ingram, Randle, Clarkson and others. Although the Lakers don't want to trade their future, to get Westbrook they are going to have to trade at least one of those guys, possibly two, to get Westbrook on the team. The best way for the Lakers to get Westbrook is not through trade. As mentioned before, Westbrook is a free agent next year so with all the money that Lakers have after Kobe Bryant retiring, the Lakers will have enough to sign Westbrook who went to college in California (UCLA).

The Thunder's future may seem unclear due to Durant's departure and Westbrook possibly leaving next year, the Thunder Roster still has good players like Oladipo who they traded for, Kanter who they matched an offer to last year, and they can add even more assets to the team if they end up trading Westbrook. So in conclusion the Thunder can either trade Westbrook and get valuable assets in return, keep Westbrook and let him have an MVP year and then start rebuilding from what they have on their roster, or just try their best to bring Westbrook back. The Thunder have lots of options that can definitely help them.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Chicago Bulls: Free Agency

Dwyane Wade e1.jpg
By Flickr user Keith Allison -, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Free Agency: Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls made one of the biggest Free Agency moves in signing Dwyane Wade. This making them a much better team offensively and defensively than they were before. And before signing Wade they also added Rajon Rondo to the roster replacing the former MVP Derrick Rose who the Bulls traded to the New York Knicks. Rondo adds Defense at the Point Guard position and also adds another great defender to their team. Although all this may seem good, the Bulls have also lost some people as well like All-Star Pau Gasol, Former Defensive Player Of The Year Joakim Noah, and Derrick Rose as mentioned before.

Lets look at their Starting Lineup from last season and their projected starting lineup for this upcoming season:
Last Season:

Projected Lineup:

Looking at this, it really seems like they upgraded their lineup for the most part. They will be a bit weak with the big men, from Gasol to Lopez is a big downgrade and if Mirotic doesn't start to bulk up and work on his defense then the Bulls will get destroyed up front which is definitely going to hurt them. Lets see the Point Guard position from Rose to Rondo. Rondo doesn't have the shooting and attacking to the basket like Rose, but in my opinion this is an upgrade for Chicago considering Rose being injury prone and Rondo being a great passer and defender. Shooting Guard, Butler to Wade (Butler moving to the Small Forward position). Although Butler is still on the team, Wade is a top 3 Shooting Guard All-Time and proved he could stay healthy last season by only missing 8 games last season compared to previous seasons 20 games missed. Butler did have a better season last season than Wade, it still isn't bad having Wade at the 2 and still having Butler on the team. And the Small Forward position, from many people like Dunleavy and Snell to Star Jimmy Butler. This is their biggest upgrade to their lineup, Butler is one of the best Two Way players in the League which will help when he starts playing at his new position. It may possibly be tough for Butler to adjust to a new position considering some of the players he will be playing agains will be bigger than him, but Butler being one of the best defenders and scorers in the league it shouldn't be a problem.

So comparing their lineup to last years lineup, the Bulls have upgraded, but really how good can they be in the East? A lot of teams in the East have upgraded during free agency, but I think the Bulls will end up getting between the 5-7 Seed, depending on how healthy and how good they work together.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The (New) New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony Nov 2013.jpg
By Keith Allison - Flickr: Carmelo Anthony, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Phil Jackson transformed a team. Now, the hype around the Knicks is big. Even though Derrick Rose isn't the best player currently, he sure has a really big name when it comes to basketball, so are the Knicks all hype, or are they for real.

First, let's take a look at the players they added and the players they lost.
They added: G-Justin Holiday
                    G-Derrick Rose
                    C-Guillermo Hernangomez
                    F-Mindaugas Kuzminskas
                    G-Courtney Lee
                    G-Brandon Jennings
                    C-Joakim Noah
                    G-Sasha Vujacic
                    F-Lance Thomas
With these guys added, you also throw in Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kyle O'Quinn

They Lost:   G-Jose Calderon
                   C-Robin Lopez
                   G-Jerian Grant
                   F-Derrick Williams
                   G-Arron Afflalo
                   G-Tony Wroten
                   And also possibly Lou Amundson, Langston Galloway, Kevin Seraphin, and Cleathony Early

With this being said, you can obviously see this is a different team. As of right now, they have only kept 4 of last years' players.

To start off, I'd like to propose the question of this team's health. How will they be health wise. Because out of the past 5 seasons...
Carmelo Anthony has missed a total of 99 games
Brandon Jennings has missed a total of 95 games
JoaKim Noah has missed a total of 104 games
Derrick Rose has missed a total of 163 games

All 4 of these players have proven to be injury prone in the last 5 seasons. But these injuries haven't just lead to missed games, they've also lead to a decrease in performance.
Carmelo Anthony went from averaging 28.7 PPG to averaging 21.8 last season
Brandon Jennings went from averaging 19.1 PPG to averaging 6.9 last season
JoaKim Noah went from averaging 12.6 PPG to averaging 4.3 last season
Derrick Rose went from averaging 25 PPG to averaging 16.4 last season

I'm not convinced that this team can win. Not with these 4 guys constantly having injury problems in the last 5 years. Can this team win with a guy like Kyle O'Quinn starting or Sasha Vukacic? This team could very well turn into the Memphis Grizzlies of last season or the 2012-13 Lakers. They don't have enough depth to insure them if injuries were to strike.

As you can see, this team is very, very questionable. Number one, we don't know how productive these 4 guys will be. Number 2, we don't know how healthy they'll be. And with more teams becoming more competitive, it's going to be hard if a couple player become injured.